Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cheering Crowds or Silent Readers?

By Darvell Hunt

About 15 years ago, somebody in one of my writing groups asked how they would go about sending their novel to a Hollywood movie producer, because this budding new writer believed his new novel would make a great movie.

He was promptly told that if he wanted a movie made from his story, he should have written a screenplay instead of a novel.

While this is humorous to relate, it’s unfortunately not that uncommon. While it’s true that many best-selling novels get turned into movies, the process of writing a visual story is very different from that of a verbal story.

I suppose this is why so many people are disappointed when they see a movie based on their favorite novel. Movie producers and directors often see stories very differently than a large portion of its readers. And on top of that, how many novels can you read in less than two hours? Much of a novel’s story—often the “good stuff”—gets removed from the movie version.

A writer needs to always remember his or her audience—and whether or not that audience is a group of people in a theater or individual readers curled up under blankets in easy chairs. Movies and novels are all about telling good stories—but they are done quite differently. Remembering the audience is just another job we writers have to get right to succeed, as if we don’t already have enough to figure out.

I’m currently writing a non-fiction LDS book. It’s also a very different experience from writing a fiction novel, but I’m enjoying the process. I hope when it gets turn into a movie, that they don’t want me to add a plot or anything stupid like that.

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